SANTA FE SPRINGS – In the months before he died, Thomas McCarthy had been planning to go back to high school to get his diploma so he could enlist in the U.S. Navy. But instead, for some unknown reason, on the night of June 3, McCarthy, 19, drove to a neighborhood near his Walnut home, put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. McCarthy’s suicide has left his family in Santa Fe Springs and Walnut devastated and on Sunday nine of them will walk in his memory in the first Los Angeles Out of the Darkness Community Walk to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “I feel so bad for him, what he was going through and how lonely he must have felt,” said Kellie Evans, McCarthy’s aunt, who lives in Santa Fe Springs. “So I am walking for him and to let people know this is happening.” According to foundation statistics, 30,000 Americans die by suicide and more than 20 millions suffer from depression every year. Additionally, Americans over the age of 65 account for 20percent of all suicide deaths. It is also the third leading cause of death among teens and young adults and the second leading cause of death for college students. Marisa Sanchez of Whittier and Leticia Guillen of Pico Rivera are familiar with the statistics. Guillen, who will walk Sunday in recognition of friends who have been depressed, has encountered suicidal teens in her work for Teen Line, a hotline for teens. “I want people to know about the seriousness of suicide, because it’s hitting teens who are younger and younger all the time,” she said. Sanchez plans to walk in memory of her 20-year-old brother from Whittier who shot himself in a hotel room 11 years ago. “My hope is to educate people about different ways of living instead of ending it with suicide,” she said. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3028160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “We need to get the message out that there is no more help once they commit suicide,” added McCarthy’s sister Priscilla Gibbs, 17, of Walnut. The family members plan to wear T-shirts with McCarthy’s picture on the front and the words “Forever 19” written on the back. They will join about 250 people expected to participate in the walk who will begin at the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica at 9 a.m. and finish at 11 a.m. The 5K walk is the last of nearly 50 community walks held this fall nationwide by the foundation that was created in 1987 to lift stigmas surrounding mental illness and suicide and prevent it through research and education. Prevention programs that are much needed to combat the growing problem, said Robert Gebbia, executive director for the foundation. “Every 18 minutes someone dies by suicide in the U.S., so we need to raise money for prevention and to offer hope to the millions of Americans who have lost a loved one to suicide or have battled with depression,” he said.